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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP   PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION LAWYERS

Issaquah Law Group - Injury Litigation Attorneys

TRUST: Personal injuries are personal. Which is why the attorneys at ILG treat every client and every case differently. Because they are different, and extremely personal. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built on trust. Trust that you will be heard. Trust that you will be protected. Trust that every effort will be made to see justice done in your case. The singular goal of every ILG attorney is to earn and preserve that trust.

EXPERIENCE: ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals and we bring this experience to bear on behalf of our clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, bus versus pedestrian accidents, defective and dangerous products, medical malpractice, slip/trip and fall accidents, and catastrophic losses due to fire.

LOCATION: We are located on the Eastside in Issaquah, convenient to Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Renton, Sammamish and North Bend. However, we provide legal services in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County and throughout the entire state of Washington.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

Division II: Means of Officer Signal Not Essential Element of Eluding

State v. Pittman

If you’ve ever seen Run Ronnie Run, or any Mr. Show skit involving Ronnie Dobbs, or even just watched an episode of cops, you’ve seen something like this. Report of an altercation. Police responding to the scene see a vehicle that matches the description. As the (presumably mustachioed) police officer was about to make a stop (on the presumed to be 1985 Pontiac Thunderbird), the (presumably muletted) driver takes off, after a ways crashes the vehicle, and runs, only to be caught.

So when you charge someone, a prosecutor files what is called in ‘Information’. This is designed to give the person an idea of what they are being charged with, and must contain the essential elements of the crime. Here, the information read:

Leldon Roy Pittman . . . did unlawfully, feloniously, and wil[l]fully fail or refuse to immediately bring his vehicle to a stop and drive his vehicle in a reckless manner while attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, after being given a visual or audible signal to bring his vehicle to a stop by a uniformed officer in a vehicle equipped with lights and sirens, contrary to RCW 46. 61. 024(1).

So was that deficient? It has to list the essential elements of the crime. Basically, what does the State have to prove to convict you. The actual statute reads:

Any driver of a motor vehicle who willfully fails or refuses to immediately bring his or her vehicle to a stop and who drives his or her vehicle in a reckless manner while attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle, after being given a visual or audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop, shall be guilty of a class C felony. The signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren. The officer giving such a signal shall be in uniform and the vehicle shall be equipped with lights and sirens.

So the real difference between the two is whether putting “visual or audible signal” instead of “signal given by the police officer may be by hand, voice, emergency light, or siren.” Here, the word may in the statute means that its not necessarily a necessary element of the crime, it is just a list of means by which to measure whether a proper signal was disregarded. Since its not an essential element, the information was proper, and the charges stand.

While the lawyers at Issaquah Legal Services do not currently practice criminal law, we expect to add an Issaquah Attorney practicing in the area soon. In the meantime, please contact us for a referral to other qualified attorneys.

 

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